Understanding your hair type


Many naturals suffer from hair envy and with all of the beautiful textures and long lengths it's hard not to covet another woman's big beautiful head of curls but there is one thing that you must understand everyone's curls are not the same. The reason why your hair may not look like the girls in the Instagram post or the one in that YouTube hair tutorial may be because you have a different hair type.  Hair types range from straight to kinky-curly and have sub-classifications in-between to determine the volume, texture, and other characteristics of hair. Here are the basics to understanding the different hair types.

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The Hair Typing System was created by Oprah Winfrey's stylist, Andre Walker, in the 1990s and since has been widely adopted by the black natural hair community in our journeys to understanding and caring for our unique hair textures. According to Andre's hair classification system, there are four basic hair types: Type 1, 2, 3, and 4. Straight, Wavy, Curly, and Kinky- Curly.  Most black women fall in the type 4 hair category and our unique hair texture requires special care-specific products to keep our hair thick and luscious.

There are various determinants of natural hair types and most of them are concluded using either of the hair typing systems which categorizes the texture, volume, and visual characteristics of hair.

Straight Hair:


Type 1 hair is known as straight hair and it is characterized by smooth and silky strands. There are further categories in it as you could have either of three kinds of hair. You could have fine, very thin, very soft, and extra shiny hair or slightly more bodily and medium-textured hair. The most stubborn type of straight hair is one that is a tad bit coarser and takes a lot of effort to be styled in curls or waves. This type of hair can easily get oily or greasy and needs attention to bring out the volume. 

The kind of natural hair oil that works best for it is coconut which usually works for all kinds of hair. The next best option is Abyssinian or better known as the organic Crambe seed oil which is lightweight and works perfectly for thin and greasy hair. Not only does it give the benefits of hair oil it doesn’t weigh down the already light locks. Baobab hair also helps with increasing volume and nourishment.


Wavy Hair:



Another hair type is wavy hair or type 2 which is neither too oily nor too dry so the options vary largely. You could have fine and thin wavy hair that are easy to style, your hair might fall into waves and curls in correspondence to the shape of your head or you could have easily frizzled and coarse hair.

For frizzled hair use Argan oil which has the potent vitamin E, coconut oil which works for each kind of hair or if you want to save your hair from becoming too dry use Marula oil.


Curly Hair:


Curly hair is known as type 3 hair and isn’t as shiny as the rest so when looking for oils it is best to go with the ones that bring out the shine. Curly hair has a defined S-shaped curl pattern and never entirely flattens down. You could have slightly shiny and loose curly hair, and a good amount of curls that could be either bouncy ringlets or tight corkscrews.


hair growth differences


Kinky-Curly Hair:



The 4th classification is defined as kinky- curly hair which is really tight curly hair. Kinky- curly hair is oftentimes thick and course and requires large amounts of natural oils to keep it moisturized and protect it from damage.  Type 4 hair can be in a super tight curly pattern or a zig-zag, coily pattern. It important to moisturize type 4 hair daily to keep it soft and manageable therefore oils like marula, coconut and castor would be suitable for kinky curly hair and can be used in your everyday hair regime. Also Shea Butter and Mango Butter will prevent dryness and tame frizzy hair.

There are many great natural oils for all hair types and you may have to mix it up in order to find the right balance you need to reduce frizz, add moisture and shine and  have strong, healthy growing hair.  


You might also like: Best Natural Oils for Type 4 Hair


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